Blizzards, hurricanes, monsoons, trade winds, the “El Niño” effect, “Chinook”, cyclones, typhoons: all well-known weather phenomena.
Add to that list, The Harmattan.
The Harmattan is a cold, dry, and dusty northeasterly trade wind that sweeps over the lower part of West Africa in the early months of every year. At Chirano and throughout Ghana, The Harmattan permeates the atmosphere, filling the air with a delicate, dust-filled haze.
It blows over the Sahara Desert, picking up fine dust and sand, and then moves into the Gulf of Guinea. As it blows across Ghana, the air becomes particularly dry, making it difficult to breathe and creating low-visibility in the atmosphere. During peak periods of Harmattan, Chirano employees are encouraged to limit their exposure to the dust-filled air, and wear dust masks when working outside.
Below are photos from Chirano and other parts of Ghana, taken the week of January 12th, 2014.
The Harmattan usually ends sometime in February, with the arrival of the first rains.
The Harmattan and our processing plant at Chirano
The Harmattan along roadways in Ghana
The Harmattan in a Ghanain school yard
*Header image at top of page courtesy of www.britannica.com